DAYS before his iconic No. 7 jersey is officially retired by Barangay Ginebra, Robert Jaworski offered one piece of advice to today's generation of players.
"Ang gusto ko sanang makita ay konti pang sigla sa laro ng mga players," said the PBA's most popular player during a luncheon tended in his honor on Friday at the Linden Suites. "Kailangan siguro suklian nila ng tama yung mga taong nagbabayad para mapanood sila.”
Jaworski, 66, had not only espoused but embodied the never-say-die spirit that made his Ginebra teams the most popular in the league during a 23-year pro career embellished by an MVP award, numerous championships, a spot among the league's 25 greatest players and a record in longevity that may never be broken.
The Living Legend and his fans get the chance to look back and celebrate his legendary career on July 8 in a retirement ceremony bridging the two semifinal games to be played at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Jaworski is expected to sit in the Ginebra bench as honorary captain prior to the ceremony. In his honor, the team is also planning to wear retro jerseys from the icon's days as Ginebra player-coach.
Among those who are set to deliver tributes before the No. 7 jersey is raised to the Big Dome's rafters are Dante Silverio, Jaworski's coach during his days with Toyota, his brother-in-law Senator Bong Revilla and Commissioner Chito Salud.
Fifteen years since he last played in the league with Ginebra at age 51, Jaworski has not had an official retirement ceremony. And he doesn't consider the retirement of his jersey number as the end of his career.
"I don't want to use the word retirement," he said. “I have some surprises…kaya dapat alisto kayo.”
Jaworski said he is grateful for the planned tribute.
“I think this is a classic example of acknowledging what you’ve done for your people, your company, and I’m happy to have been accorded this great opportunity,” he said.